This is one of the most typical and classic French dessert, and one of my favourite ever! If I am at the restaurant and this is on the dessert menu, I won’t even look at the rest and will go straight to my “ile flottante”.
It took me sometimes before finding the exact proportions for the ingredients to get the perfect balance, as I don’t like them too sweet, or not fluffy enough, but after a few test I came up with this recipe. I hope you will like it!
Ingredients for 4 portions:
- 4 egg whites
- 40 g of sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
The custard cream:
- 4 egg yolks
- 50 cl of milk
- 60 g of sugar
- 1 pack of vanilla sugar (about 10 grams)
- 125 g of sugar
- 10 cl of warm water
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- Preparation: 40 mins
- Cooking: 20 mins
- Rest: none
1- Separate the whites from the yolks and keep the whites on the side for later. Beat vigorously the yolks with the sugar until smooth and creamy.
2- Boil the milk with the vanilla sugar while stirring regularly so it doesn’t attached to the bottom.
3- Pour the milk very slowly on the mixed yolks while beating constantly to incorporate it. Once it is done, put the mixture back into the pan over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, to allow the custard to thicken. Don’t stop stirring very gently.
4- When it has reach the consistency you want (keep in mind that it is going to keep thickening a little bit while cooling down), remove from heat, let it cool down few minutes and pour into a large bowl to let it cool down completely, before you put it into the fridge.
1- Put the sugar in a small pan over medium heat, until it gets this golden brown colour (don’t stir, just let it transform).
2- When it has reach that colour and became liquid, remove from the heat and pour the hot water (be careful as you might get splash in the process). You will also end up with lump but that ok as we will put back the pan over low heat and stir from time to time until them melt. Add the lemon juice and leave over the heat for a couple more minutes while stirring from time to time.
3- Be careful not to leave it too long over the heat and burn it. You want it to be a little bit thick but still liquid, and it will thicken a lot more while cooling down.
The floating islands:
1- Beat the whites and a pinch of salt vigorously until foamy and firm (use an electric whip). When you are half way in the process (careful not to do it too early otherwise the whites won’t get foamy), add the half of the sugar and keep beating. Then at the end, add the rest of the sugar and beat again.
2- Preheat the oven at 150 Celsius degrees.
3- Fill small individual greased dishes (that can go in the oven) up to two third with the foamy whites. Put in the oven in a bain-marie for 20 to 25 minutes (keep an eye on them).
When it is done, remove from oven, let cool down a little bit before taking them out of the dishes. Then put the islands on the custard’s bowl until it is dessert time. Pour the custard evenly in individual bowl, add one island per bowl, and finish of with a little bit of caramel on the top. You can also add almond flakes to add a little bit of crunchiness.